The morning after our trip to Tulleys we headed up to Thorpe Park. As an early birthday treat we decided to take up an offer for a 2 day / 1 night stay at the TP Shark Hotel which would ultimately allow us to soak in all the delights that Fright Nights had to offer. In the year of ‘The Walking Dead’ – Thorpe Park promised horror fans 8 x Scare attractions amongst other terrifying features. Based on this we were super excited to get stuck in!
Unfortunately, the weather was at its wettest and the Saturday was a complete wash out so we decided to pass some time in The Dome until our 3pm hotel check in. After an afternoon nap (mainly to get out of the rain), we ventured out The Shark Hotel and back through the dome to try and find ‘The Big Top’. After some head scratching and putting two and two together, we actually realised that The Big Top didn’t exist in a maze format this year. To our disappointment it was more a roaming street theatre performance. From what I remembered from The Big Top in years gone by, it was a very worthwhile addition!
Anyway, we headed across to Dead Creek Woods – a new attraction for 2018 based at the old Blair Witch or more recently Zombie Blast location. The theme was based on a contaminated water source causing a virus / bacteria to spread. The theming was generally ok but there wasn’t a great deal of it which made it hard to become fully immersed. The scares were obvious and until the climax, they were also fairly tame. All in all Dead Creek Woods was ok, but not memorable or particularly scary throughout. If the queue is any longer than 20 minutes I’d suggest spending your time elsewhere.
Following Dead Creek Woods we walked back around to Platform 15 and after a 30 minute queue were poised and ready to enter. Unfortunately we were located at the back of a fairly large group which meant we missed / couldn’t hear the narrative at the start. We were also followed throughout the attraction by 2 security guys with torches which further detracted from the experience. Overall Platform 15 is no doubt one of the stronger mazes at Thorpe Park and after the terrifying dark tunnel section and memories of last year’s run through, we gave Platform 15 the benefit of the doubt. It’s just a shame groups are batched so large and security has to follow each group. Let’s hope this can be improved.
Next up we walked around to The Walking Dead Do or Die which was a new take on ‘Sanctum’ from last year. The intro in the school bus was superb but we struggled to hear the narrative which was a shame. The rest of the attraction was hit and miss with some great scares being followed by large outdoor sections lacking theming and more importantly lacking actors. With some fine tweaking Do or Die could become very intense, at present we’d rate it 5 or 6 out of 10.
Our last maze of the night was The Walking Dead Living Nightmare. This maze was generally excellent from the opening scene right the way through to the ending. We had a particularly scary run through with the actors perfectly timing scares and causing mayhem throughout. The theming was fantastic and it certainly felt like you were on an episode of The Walking Dead. Although we’ve read some mixed reviews on Living Nightmare, on this occasion we were very impressed and everything seemed to fall into place perfectly.
The Living Nightmare marked the end of a very wet and cold night with mixed feelings towards the experiences we had encountered. The promise of a drier day on the Sunday was very welcome as we made our way back to the Shark Hotel.
After a decent night’s sleep, we were up and ready to hit the park again. The weather was dry and the sun was shining. Our first scare experience of the day was Fanta’s Twisted Carnival – a Scare attraction touring the UK (not part of TP’s actual lineup). After a fairly long queue we finally made our way in and without giving too much away we thoroughly enjoyed this very unique and in parts terrifying experience! If you get chance to do it, please do!
With some rides under our belt it was time to join the Vulcan Peak queue. Vulcan Peak was an attraction we knew very little about and the TP website didn’t give too much away either. The music in the queue line suggests ‘not looking into the eyes’ of the creatures that lurk within and this was certainly not possible as we were presented with a bag to put over our head after the maze introduction. We’ve visited many mazes where you are made to wear a hood and these can often be done fantastically well and provide some of the most intense scares imaginable. Unfortunately, this was not the case for Vulcan Peak which was damn right awful. There were almost no actors, no audio, no storyline or narrative. It was up there with one of the worst mazes we’d experienced anywhere in the world! I’m really not sure how THORPE Park have become so lazy with Vulcan Peak but we hope they get this changed ASAP!
With the ‘new’ Blair Witch attraction not opening until darkness and a long car journey home, we decided to give it a miss. Please let us know what you thought. In previous years, Blair Witch felt like a half-hearted effort, maybe 2018 will be the year it finally steps up!
One last thing to add before we summarise – we also discovered that ‘Terror At Amity High’ wasn’t a physical maze and like ‘The Big Top’ just another street theatre setup with roaming actors. Thorpe Park should be a little clearer on their website to avoid confusion and disappointment.
Whilst we’ve visited Thorpe Park in the past and had both good and bad experiences, the lure of their ‘biggest and best’ Fright Nights was enough for us to return in 2018. Unfortunately, the scare attractions were as hit and miss as ever. Some with great potential unfulfilled and some such as Vulcan Peak just ridiculously bad. When you factor in the really excessive queuing and over the top fast track prices (not including park entry), Thorpe Park doesn’t offer value for money nor does it offer a fully immersive scream park like so many independent scream parks across the UK. We wanted Fright Nights 2018 to be awesome, but it just wasn’t. Our advice – visit a local independent scream park who will give you a much better experience for a fraction of the cost.